AEM is a content management system that offers a feature-rich toolset; from integrated social and targeting platforms to custom authoring environments and an enhanced data repository. But getting over some of the bumps involved in first implementing the system can be a challenge. So we’ve asked our top AEM developers about the things that they think are most important to address in the very early stages.
‘Content is King’ isn’t just true when referring to reaching your customers. It’s one of the common causes of a site getting overloaded and slowing down.
Figuring out the right amount of disk space on which to base your system may seem simple, but it’s a crucial decision. If you run out of space it will render your AEM system unusable—but choosing to work in the biggest allotment doesn’t solve the issue. And to complicate things further, adding more space in the future is not always simple.
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There are generally published guidelines to follow, but we recommend using an Application Monitoring System like AppDynamics. Then, if you go over a certain set limit, you can set an action to be taken (like sending an email to the system administrators). It will help to prevent a meltdown of the system if you overload it with content.
How your system is architected is another important part of your implementation strategy that can impact performance. Setting up your production site correctly starts with creating multiple publishing nodes so certain users are directed to go to different nodes for their activities. Doing this balances the system load and can lead to better performance of the system overall because one particular node is not overloaded.
Finally, make sure the site is well coded. It starts with the way in which you query the JCR; if you are making a lot of multiple calls and not optimizing each query, you can very easily overload the database.
After performance, the second biggest issue we’ve seen companies run into is around migrating their content from a previous system to AEM. Migration is a big part of moving to AEM. It’s an even bigger factor when your legacy system is something other than AEM. Whether moving from a legacy system or just another CMS, you need to pay detailed attention to cleaning data; making sure that there are no broken links or missing content.
It’s also time to really look at the quality – meaning, is your content in good condition? Is it still what you want to put out there for your users? Or is it time to rewrite some of it, or create new product imagery. Before the migration is the time to figure that out.
Your migration scripts will need to be written according to your specific needs. They won’t be ready OOTB, but instead should be based on your own use cases. And be sure that your migration scripts are tested against a large amount of data — both in type and size. Don’t take shortcuts on this. Doing so will result in false hopes — you’ll think that your migration scripts are performing fine but in fact, they are only really working correctly for a small amount of data.
Verification is also a key step that should not be overlooked or under-prioritized. Ensure pages aren’t left with empty content, which can have a major impact on your SEO. While you’re migrating pages over, the URL structure needs to remain intact or you should 301 redirect the old pages to the new URL.
There are many other critical factors in data migration including the value of historical data, identifying and assessing risks and creating a comprehensive plan.
User management is the third piece of AEM where many companies run into trouble. Determining your user’s workflow and regulating their access to data and resources, and what actions they can perform is key. You don’t want to allow access to places on your site where the person does not need to be.
With AEM you can set four different authorization categories – for example, authors who can only create content, and authors who can approve and produce content. When thinking about who to give access and how much, it’s important to establish a synchronization between authors and publishers, so that the workflows are efficient and your system is protected from ‘tinkering.’
The login capabilities of your end users (or front-facing users) also need to be addressed so that you can keep both their private information private, and the secure areas of your site out of their reach.
Taking the time upfront to address these and other system parameters can create a better performing AEM environment, and potentially save you some time-consuming, complex issues after the launch.
If you need help implementing or optimizing your AEM solution, reach out to us today.